Gone are the days when food trucks dish up only stale “soft” pretzels and FD&C red lake No. 40 hot dogs. These days, a number of food trucks are drawing varied crowds to their gustatory delights and regional delicacies. This month, we followed our noses to some of the city’s most notable mobile taco trucks serving fresh Mexican fare. Here’s a sampling of what we discovered.

Allen’s Tamales

Little is known about the elusive Mickey Allen of Dumas, owner of Allen's Hot Tamales. We met him at Yancey's Wine & Spirits in the Heights, where he was peddling some of the most delicious hand-rolled hot tamales we've tasted. He scribbled his phone number on a torn-off piece of cardboard, but when we tried to reach him, we found the number to be non-working. A subsequent Google search and a call to information also left us empty-handed. What we do know – thanks to the fine people at Yancey's Wine & Spirits – is that he shows up almost every Saturday around 4 p.m. and leaves when he sells out, typically around 5:30 p.m. Indeed, Allen's tamales are a hot commodity.

Where: Parking lot of Yancey's Wines & Spirits, 5208 Kavanaugh
When: Saturdays, 4 p.m.-'til
Pay: Cash

Taquería Jalisco San Juan

While this truck also serves tongue tacos, our timid palates just couldn’t brave it. We went with the grilled chicken and grilled steak tacos ($1.30), served open-face in a white corn tortilla and topped with white onions and an ample amount of fresh cilantro. Lime wedges and slices of radish were served on the side. The truck also dishes out fajitas, tortas, burritos, tamales and, for the American patrons, cheese dip. We ordered both an horchata—a mild and refreshing drink made of ground almonds, rice, barley and sesame seeds—and a bottled Coca Cola, made with real sugar.

Where: Colonial Wine & Spirits’ parking lot (11200 West Markham)
When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Contact: 541-5533
Pay: Cash

Tamalcalli Tamale House & Catering

Tamales are the real draw at this truck, but it also dispenses flautas, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos and tacos. At $2 each, we recommend the tamales, specifically the jalapeno and cheese, and at $1.30 each, try the chorizo (Mexican sausage) taco. Tamalcalli also specializes in sweet tamales, including strawberry, chocolate & pecan, blackberry & cream cheese, peach & cream cheese and more. Customers can buy tamales by the dozen for $22 at the truck, or frozen at the River Market Farmers’ Market from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday.

Where: 8th and Broadway, behind the Shell station and across from Wendy’s.
When: 10 a.m.-3 or 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Contact:  744-0891, 838-2165  
Pay: Cash or checks